An internal source claims the Inter dressing room is “split into three factions” and Mauro Icardi was defending his teammates from Coach Luciano Spalletti’s “hysterical” critiques.
Icardi hasn’t played or even trained with the team since he was stripped of the captaincy on February 13, officially due to a knee injury, although the club medics have given him the all-clear.
La Repubblica newspaper now publishes an expose from an unnamed member of the Inter squad who lifts the lid on what caused the chaos.
“None of us asked Spalletti to take the armband off Icardi,” insisted the mole.
“Icardi was irritated by the tone Spalletti was taking in criticising his teammates and asked the Coach to take it down a notch. After all, they were coming off a victory and there was no need to be hysterical.
“The reaction was extremely violent. And when the armband was taken off him, it was like a stain on Mauro, so he repeatedly sent messages to the club pointing out he had a 97.5 per cent record of arriving on time to training, as proof of his professionalism over the years.
“It was to no avail. Spalletti will not be moved. The club, in the race for a Champions League spot, doesn’t have the strength to intervene.”
The mole also claims the club hierarchy is affiliated with various factions within the squad, leading to an irreparably divided environment.
“The dressing room is split into three factions: Italians, South Americans and Slavs. Mauro gets along with everyone except Perisic, Marcelo Brozovic and (new captain) Samir Handanovic.
“The same cannot be said of Spalletti. The Balkanisation of Inter is by now at an advanced and irreversible stage.”
It is widely reported the main feud is between Icardi and Perisic, especially after the striker’s agent Wanda Nara said on television he’d “prefer to earn less money if Inter could find someone to give him a decent cross.”
Problems have been bubbling around the team since January, when Radja Nainggolan was considering a return to Roma and temporarily suspended for turning up late to training, then Perisic handed in a transfer request after receiving an Arsenal offer.
La Repubblica suggest director Piero Ausilio is affiliated with the Slavic ‘clan’ and would like to sell Icardi to Juventus in exchange for Paulo Dybala.
Inter President Steven Zhang is on Icardi’s side and sends messages of reassurance, trying to bring the striker back into the squad even without the armband.
Beppe Marotta, having only recently arrived, has found himself trying to mediate between the various parties.